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The purpose of shadowing a doctor

September 17, 2020

Whether you’re a premed, pre-PA, pre-nursing, or midwifery student, you are likely required to have medical shadowing hours. Some pre-health students want to know: why is it important to shadow a doctor?

As a leading doctor shadowing program, we have explored what the purpose of clinical shadowing is and how it can help you reach your goals as a future healthcare professional.

A day in the life of a doctor or physician

When you take the time to shadow a healthcare worker, you start to see what a typical day looks like for these hardworking professionals. By spending several days observing one doctor or at one hospital, you can see what different shifts look like and how physicians handle a multitude of responsibilities and types of cases.

It’s not just about knowing how to treat injuries or diseases. There is so much more that happens in a day! Whether you’re a nurse, physician assistant, or doctor, you have to handle patients, coworkers, paperwork, and your own basic needs during the day.

It’s important for students interested in a career in medicine to see what it all entails – the beautiful and the not so beautiful aspects. Getting this insight helps you decide if medicine is the right career path for you.

At Global Pre-Meds, we provide a minimum of 40 hours of shadowing on hospital frontlines. This allows you to see a broad range of cases and experience different days in the hospital.

We make sure that no matter your interest, you are getting the most out of your experience so that you can make an informed decision about your future. Part of your program fee is paid directly to your mentoring doctor and the hospital in which you are shadowing. By incentivizing these roles, we know that we can provide a positive and thorough experience for our Global Pre-Meds students.

Understanding how the healthcare team works together

Medical shadowing gives you the chance to see the inner workings of a hospital or clinic. A physician does not usually work alone. Whatever medical path you’re on, you will likely work with other specialties and hospital or clinic employees, who all work together to provide medical care. It’s important to understand that aspect of healthcare!

If you shadow at a hospital or clinic, your mentor will interact with many people during their shift. You can start understanding how to triage, seek referrals, and how the hierarchy works.

You also get the chance to see if any other medical specialties or fields catch your eye! Maybe you think you want to be a physician assistant, but after watching a birth you’ve decided to go into nursing. That’s exactly what shadowing is for – deciding what part of the medical path is exciting and interesting for you.

Sometimes we have a group of students who are all interested in a specific specialty. We make sure your mentor knows what your interests are so that they can provide the most informative shadowing experience.

You’re not limited to the cases your mentoring doctor is on. If their colleague is doing something interesting, they may allow you to go and observe with them and ask whatever questions you have. Our students get an extensive amount of experience in the hospital that helps them understand what it’s really like to work there, without breaking any ethical guidelines or having physical interactions with patients.

Making your medical school application stand out

If you want to be a nurse, physician assistant, midwife, or doctor you have to go to school first!

Almost every school requires shadowing and clinical experience for their pre-med or pre-health programs. They want to know if you understand what you’re getting yourself into, but they also want to see that you have some foundational knowledge of medicine before you start your formal studies.

You should make the most out of these hours and find ways to make your medical school application standout. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure you have unique and diverse experiences in your shadowing hours.

While many schools want to see that you spend a good amount of time with one mentor so that you understand a typical day, they also want to know that you’ve seen different aspects of medical care. Check with your specific program to see what their requirements are and what they ask from their applicants.

Our Global Pre-Meds doctor shadowing program is one of the best ways for medical students to stand out from the crowd. Not only do you get 40 hours of shadowing and a mentor that was chosen by us, but you also gain international hospital experience abroad!

Few prospective medical students can say that they’ve experienced what you will experience with us. Whether you choose our Tanzania or Dominican Republic program, you will observe cases that you may never get to see in your home country. Doctors in these countries have to treat malaria, large animal trauma, and more. Getting this firsthand experience on hospital frontlines is going to make your nursing or medical school application stand out from all the rest.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have examined our programs and enhanced our health and safety measures so that you can still get a safe doctor shadowing experience abroad. We want to support medical students continuing their education, especially during this challenging time for the world and healthcare community. You will also get the opportunity to observe the impact of a global pandemic, which will be a highly educational experience in and of itself.

Understanding healthcare from a global perspective will make you a better physician and a better human being. By shadowing abroad, you will see patients from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, which will serve you well on your path to becoming a medical professional.

No matter your medical career path, we hope that you’ll join us at Global Pre-Meds for a one of a kind shadowing experience at an international hospital. Find out more.